At a high level, the Speech from the Throne focused on four main foundations of the government’s plan to deal with the issues of the modern day, including, most importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic. Those foundations include fighting the pandemic and saving lives, supporting people and businesses through this crisis, building back better in a post COVID-19 Canada, and standing up for who we are as Canadians.
Protecting Canadians from COVID-19
The federal government will continue to help provinces increase their testing capacity. As soon as tests are approved in Canada, the government will do everything it can to see them deployed. This includes creating a federal Testing Assistance Response Team to quickly meet surge testing needs.
The government will work to target additional financial support directly to businesses that had to temporarily shut down because of local public health decisions.
Canada will continue building domestic capacity for PPE while securing supply chains.
Helping Canadians Through the Pandemic
Given the huge impacts COVID--19 has had on job 19 has had on job markets, the Throne speech focused on getting more Canadians to get back to work. This includes creating more than a million jobs to restore employment to previous levels, create direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly skill-up workers, and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended through to next summer, so workers can remain on the payroll.
The government will create a transitional Canada Recovery Benefit for those who would not otherwise qualify for employment insurance.
An Action Plan for Women in the Economy will help more women get back into the workforce and ensure a feminist and intersectional response to the pandemic and recovery. This includes giving parents access to affordable, inclusive, and high quality childcare, and the creation of a Canada wide early learning and childcare system.
For small businesses, the Canada Emergency Business Account will be expanded, and the Business Credit Availability Program will be improved.
The government will introduce further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts.
Building Back Better
To support and protect seniors, the government will work with provinces and territories to set new national standards for long term care to ensure seniors get the best support possible.
A new Disability Inclusion Plan will present a new Canadian Disability Benefit modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors and a better process to determine eligibility for government disability programs and benefits.
Government committed to accelerating steps to achieve national universal pharmacare, developing a rare disease strategy to help Canadian families save money on high cost drugs, establishing a national formulary to keep drug prices low, and working with provinces and territories willing to move forward without delay.
To keep Canadians safe the government will continue to implement firearms policy commitments and accelerate investments in shelters and transitional housing.
Unsurprisingly, the government noted they will invest in all types of infrastructure, including public transit, energy efficient retrofits, clean energy, rural broadband, and affordable housing, particularly for Indigenous Peoples and northern communities.
True to Liberal form, climate action was the cornerstone of the government's new plan to support and create a million jobs across the country.
A Canada To Fight For
The government will continue to support Indigenous communities and contain the spread of COVID-19 in these communities. They reaffirmed their commitment to reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
The Throne Speech also addressed systemic racism and protection the two official languages.
Canada will continue to bring in newcomers, support family reunification, and will leverage the advantage we have on immigration to keep Canada competitive on the world stage world stage.
With much of the focus on today’s Speech from The Throne centering around the mitigation of COVID-19 and the usual promises and investments touted by any government facing an economic crisis, there are a number of targeted and interesting measures included in this Speech that should not go unnoticed.
The Canadian Disability Benefit:
The government has promised the creation of a Disability Inclusion Plan which would include a “GIS-like” benefit, a robust employment strategy, and a better process for determining eligibility for government disability programs and benefits. The impacts of COVID-19 can be seen across all segments of the population but the response to the pandemic has exasperated barriers that disabled Canadians face daily.
Targeted supports for businesses that temporarily shut down:
The government is promising to introduce new financial assistance measures to help businesses who need to temporarily close due to local public health measures. As Canada approaches a possible second wave of infection, there is hope that a more regional and surgical approach to restrictions may be the best way forward. In order to ensure that all businesses have an opportunity to survive the coming months, the government will look at ways of ensuring that businesses affected by a local lockdown will have access to financial supports.
Canada-wide early learning and childcare system
The pandemic has disproportionately affected women and their participation in the workforce. This has been worsened by the complicated situation with childcare and education across the country. Hybrid learning, school outbreaks, and the possibility of being sent home with a runny nose, all but ensure a more precarious environment for parents and caregivers. To address this, the Liberals seem to be shying away from promising universal childcare, but are looking at a federal childcare system as an alternative and more tangible solution.
A key pillar of today’s speech was ensuring that Canada’s economy will build back stronger than it was before the pandemic. To this extent, the government is promising the largest investment in Canadian history to train workers across the country. This will specifically help Canadians develop new skills in growing sectors and assist workers in receiving accreditation and education.
While looking to the future of Canada’s economy, it is hard to see an endpoint that does not involve a robust green economy. The government will be introducing a new fund to attract investments in making zero-emission products here in Canada, and they are promising to cut the corporate tax rate in half for companies who create these jobs here in Canada.